In the past few months, many companies around the world have resorted to implementing a policy of compulsory work from home, coinciding with the outbreak of the Coronavirus (Covid-19). Perhaps the most prominent of these companies are: Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Hitachi, Apple, Amazon, Chevron, and Spotify; And other companies in many countries, ranging from the United Kingdom to the United States, Japan and South Korea.
It is realistic to assume that switching to “housework” will become the new normal for many of us for some time, as some employees will work from home for the first time; Which means knowing how to continue working in a new environment that may not be suitable for productivity.
There are ways to achieve results and avoid overworking, from setting up a good workspace to the way you talk to your team:
1. Enhance communication:
The key to working from home is clear communication with your manager, and knowing exactly what is expected of you.
“You have to have clear expectations for day-to-day communications,” says Barbara Larson, a professor of management at Northeastern University in Boston who studies teleworking. So ask your manager if he doesn’t mind making a 10-minute call to start and end the workday, he might. Managers don’t think about it very often. ”
Most people spend their days close to their boss, which means that communication is easy and stress free. But all this disappears with remote work, and the interruption of communication is likely to be more likely if your work environment – managers and colleagues – is not used to working remotely, for example: your manager may not be used to managing people remotely, or your company may not own Ready set of remote work tools, such as: Slack chat and communication app, or Zoom video conferencing app.
However, working from home can cause feelings of disorganization and isolation, even for those who are used to it.
Last year, a study of 2,500 remote workers found loneliness was the second biggest challenge voiced, with 19% of the people in this study facing it.
Loneliness can make people feel less motivated and productive, and isolation for a period of time can be a real problem for remote workers. Therefore, when you are communicating with your manager and team from home, it is helpful to be as communicative as possible, i.e. face-to-face and directly. And that is through video calls, Skype or Zoom.
“The best remote workers will communicate with co-workers and managers regularly, through a variety of tools,” says Sarah Sutton, CEO and founder of FlexJob, a remote job posting website.
2. Treat it like a real business:
There are also some timeless tips for working from home, in order to preserve the prestige of the work. For example: Just because you can relax in your pajamas doesn’t mean that you really should wear it to work.
If you don’t have a home office, do your best to create an exclusively dedicated work space. “The lack of a well-equipped home office space for people when they start working remotely can lead to a temporary decrease in productivity,” explains Sutton, adding that dual screens, a wireless keyboard and mouse make them more productive at home.
So, instead of lying in bed with a laptop, try something deeper, like moving the table to an angle away from distractions, placing your computer on it, and sitting in an upright chair. Just like you would in your office at workplace.
This is also an important indication that you are at work for those who live with you. “Set boundaries in your home that your family members understand,” says Christine Shockley, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Georgia.
With a dedicated workspace, it becomes easier for you to take advantage of the benefits of remote work, where you can focus more. FlexJob surveyed 7,000 employees last year, and 65% of those said they were more productive at home, citing advantages such as: fewer peer interruptions, minimal office policies, and less stress on commuting. .
However, it is also important to finish your day. The most frequently cited complaint about working from home in this survey: the inability to be separated from work.
Moving or entering and leaving a real office provides clearer limits to the work day, which cannot be achieved with remote work. So, (Shockley) suggests creating psychological states that can help you put you in the right mindset, such as: drinking coffee for 20 minutes in the morning, then exercising immediately after work, in order to set limits for the beginning and end of work.
3. Avoid feeling isolated:
The coercive and sudden nature of the office-to-home transition – even with the tools in place for that transition – can make some employees struggle to get used to change.
“There are two types of work from home: short-term or long-term work, and permanent or full-time work,” says Nicholas Bloom, a professor of economics at Stanford University in California, who gave lectures on TED’s platform about telecommuting. Comparing Light Exercise With Training For A Marathon “.
The latter is still very rare. Bloom explains that only 5% of the U.S. workforce report working full time remotely.
Experts say that “high-definition” communications, such as: video calls while working from home, fight isolation; While maintaining team unity and productivity.
Prolonged isolation can also affect morale and productivity. This is why (Larson) suggests that teams try to preserve a semblance of normality and camaraderie in unconventional ways, such as: pizza parties in virtual reality, where people communicate and participate in “cocktail parties” on the Slack app or Skype.
Describing the “we’re all in this together” mentality, Larson says: “It’s a good way to bond. It might be kind of weird, but everyone feels weird, so it’s fun, and it adds a little strength and lightness to the difficult environment.”
Sutton also supports the idea of translating social activities in the office into an online environment. “Celebrate birthdays together and pay tribute to the goals you have achieved and the projects accomplished,” she says.
4. Maintaining morale:
The more effort you put in communicating with colleagues, the greater your chance of avoiding feelings of isolation that may lead to depression.
“I think a short period of two to four weeks full-time work from home would be generally economically and personally painful, but bearable, as you might do a longer period of full-time work – from two to three months – than,” Blume says. Home, to serious economic and health costs. “